Vietnamese companies will be allowed to import 70,000 tonnes of sugar
this year despite sufficient supply in the domestic market in order to
keep up with WTO commitments.
The quota has been decided
by the Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development and the Ministry of
Industry and Trade after studying the yield of the 2011-12 crop and
current inventory volumes, said Nguyen Bai Duong, an agriculture
Duong told Vietnam News that the quota confirmed the ministry's prediction at the beginning of the year.
"We have submitted to the Prime Minister the criteria applied as well
as the list of companies wanting to import sugar to serve their
production," Duong said.
He reaffirmed that the country is not facing a sugar shortage.
The general secretary of the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association,
Nguyen Hai, echoed Duong, saying domestic sugar plants can "absolutely
meet the demand from companies".
"The country produced
nearly 1.4 million tonnes of sugar in the 2011-12 crop and the inventory
volume as of July 31 is 230,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, we estimate consumption this year at between 1.3 million and 1.4 million tonnes," Hai told Vietnam News.
Furthermore, he added, the new crop will start from the beginning of
this September, reducing the chances further of any sugar shortage.
"The import quota of 70,000 tonnes is on par with the country's commitment with the World Trade Organisation," he said.
Hai also revealed that domestic sugar consumption in current months has
slowed down to about 60,000 tonnes of sugar each month compared to the
normal 110,000 tonnes. He attributed the slow consumption to illegal
"Illegal imports have become uncontrollable," he
said, explaining that companies that are allowed to import sugar are
either re-exporting it or selling it in the domestic market instead of
sing it for production.
"Meanwhile, domestically-produced sugar is less competitive because of high prices."
To solve the problem, the association has called on the Government to
scrap its system of setting individual sugar import quotas for
"Once the Government has decided the export quota, they should invite bids from companies," Hai said.-VNA